West Virginia Medical Marijuana Law
West Virginia's medical marijuana program enables residents with serious medical conditions to use cannabis to manage symptoms that disrupt their daily lives and limit their ability to enjoy time with their families, pursue their interests, and work. Marijuana is a viable alternative to many conventional treatments, which can be ineffective or carry harsh side effects.
Since the program started, over 18,000 West Virginians have received medical marijuana identification cards, allowing them to shop at state-regulated cannabis dispensaries and legally possess marijuana in the state of West Virginia. Beyond the impact on patients, the growing cannabis industry has provided almost 2,000 jobs.
This article explains the history of the West Virginia medical marijuana legislation, the state’s possession limits, and its punishments for violations of said law. Understanding the scope of the law will help you make the most of your cannabis use without breaking the law.
West Virginia Medical Marijuana Law History
- 2010: The first medical cannabis bill is introduced in West Virginia
- 2015: Senate Bill 546 and House Bill 2909, which both aim to legalize medicinal cannabis, fail to advance prior to the conclusion of the legislative session
- 2017: Governor Jim Justice signs the Medical Cannabis Act, legalizing cannabis treatment for "serious medical conditions"
- 2018: The West Virginia Department of Health issues a report to the governor and legislature recommending dry flower be included in the state’s list of authorized cannabis treatment methods and calling for patient access to affordable treatment
- 2019: The Department of Health begins accepting applications for medical marijuana cards
Marijuana Possession Laws in West Virginia
As a registered patient, you can possess up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana obtained from a dispensary. Your 30-day supply is established based on the dosage and form specified by your doctor on the medical marijuana certificate. You cannot possess another individual's medical marijuana or cannabis from other sources.
Recreational marijuana remains illegal in West Virginia. Possession of any marijuana by a non-patient is a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
West Virginia Public Consumption Laws
Public consumption is illegal in West Virginia. You must consume your medical marijuana in a private place, like your residence or another person's home, with their permission. In addition, never use cannabis in national parks or federal lands due to the ongoing national prohibition.
While employers cannot discriminate against applicants based on their patient status, they are not required to permit employees to use cannabis on their premises.
West Virginia Cannabis DUI Laws
Under the 2017 legislation, medical marijuana patients cannot operate a vehicle with trace amounts of THC, defined as 3 ng/ml of THC or more, in their blood. Plan rides or alternative transportation when you use your medical marijuana. It can take eight hours or more to metabolize THC depending on your biochemistry, the dose, and the consumption method.
First offenses are misdemeanors punished with up to six months imprisonment, a maximum $5,000 fine, and a license revocation between 90 days and six months. Minimum penalties increase with each subsequent offense.
Applying for A West Virginia Medical Marijuana Card?
You can complete the West Virginia medical marijuana cards application entirely online. First, confirm you have one of the state-recognized qualifying conditions. Those qualifying medical conditions include intractable pain/chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Crohn’s disease, terminal illness, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and certain neuropathies. Only patients with an approved diagnosis can apply.
You can then schedule an appointment with an authorized West Virginia physician. The state requires doctors to complete specialized training to issue medical marijuana certificates.
The Office of Medical Cannabis has a list of authorized providers. The consultation can be in-person or use telehealth services. Once your doctor issues a certificate, you can register for an online portal account, complete your application, and submit the supplemental documents.
You need to provide a digital passport-style photo, a copy of a government-issued ID, proof of West Virginia residency document, and a copy of the Physician Certification. The state also collects a $50 registration fee. You qualify for a waiver if your income is within 200% of the federal poverty line.
The Sanctuary can advise you about every step of the process. Our team will confirm your eligibility, refer you to a caring medical marijuana doctor for a certificate, and advise you about documentation requirements and the application. If you’re accepted into West Virginia’s medical cannabis program and issued an MMJ card by the state, you’ll be able to visit dispensaries and purchase medical cannabis products such as dry leaf, dermal patches, edibles, tinctures, topicals, ointments, creams, gels, vaporization products, and more.
No. Possession of any amount of marijuana in West Virginia, without patient status, is punished with 90 days to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
While a bill to legalize recreational marijuana is pending as of January 2023, possession limits and access will be more restrictive for recreational users than registered patients.
You can possess flower, concentrate, tinctures, capsules, topical applications, patches, and vape or nebulization cartridges. Dispensaries are tightly regulated businesses that only carry authorized products. Your cannabis will be clearly labeled with its THC content and strain.
You cannot possess marijuana not obtained from a licensed-dispensary consistent with your medical marijuana certificate. You cannot possess medical marijuana belonging to another patient or synthetic marijuana.
West Virginia allows patients to have up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana as defined by their certificate. Your doctor can stipulate the forms and dosages you are authorized to purchase. Being explicit and clear about your condition and symptoms during the medical marijuana consultation ensures the doctor recommends the proper dose and form to manage your symptoms.
The state defines a 30-day supply as 6 ounces of plant material or 60 grams of extract. Dispensary staff can help you understand the limits in various forms to help you determine your possession maximum.
No. Patients with out-of-state medical marijuana cards cannot shop at dispensaries and do not have the same legal protections. In addition, transporting cannabis into West Virginia is federally prohibited.
Yes. You do not undergo a background check to receive a medical marijuana card in West Virginia. A felony will prevent you from serving as a caregiver who can purchase and possess cannabis on behalf of a qualified patient.